Tag Archives: Fun Stuff

The Games We Play

While other coaches are doodling with their X’s and O’s, I’m researching and dreaming up new games for the kids to play that will either develop their aggression ability or condition them or both. It will also allow them to have more fun while doing so which will bring them back for another season. Hopefully you can use some of these.

Hurricane

The circle represents the other players on the team.

Pick 2 teams. Team 1 chooses 3 players for offense, 2 blockers with blocking shields and 1 runner with the ball. Team 2 picks the defender. Alternate choosing offense and defense each turn.

The defender has 12 seconds to touch the runner. If he does, his team gets a point. If he does not, the other team gets a point. Play until all players have had a chance to participate. Losing team bearcrawls back to the water break area.

I have tried it without the shields. It gets too violent. We don’t really enforce blocks in the back. Also if the defender falls down, he is likely piled on and loses. The more the boys cheer the better it is. Of course we play music during this drill.

Deer Hunter

Mark off a square area at least 20 yds by 20 yds with cones or lines. The bigger it is the more running they have to do.

Pick 3-4 hunters. Equip them with balls to kill the deer with. They run after the deer killing them with the balls until you only have as many deer left in as you have hunters. These deer now become the hunters for the next round.

Variations-We sometimes have a gate for the deer to run out of after being killed. They run to a designated point and back and enter into the game again thru the gate…We use footballs because they sting a bit more when they hit. Since we have helmets on, headshots are legal.

I just came up with a new variation. Using pool noodles as the weapon to kill the deer. You have to get closer to make the kill. More chasing and running is done with this variation. The kids liked it too.

Sumo

We make a large circle of players. Start with the 2 weakest players. They sumo wrestle. If they are driven out of the circle or a part of their body touches the ground they lose. Winner stays on until you have one final player standing. Of course we play music for this game.

King of the Boards

Have two players face off and try to drive each other backwards. Declare a winner. Winner stays on. Start with the weakest players and work up to your King. Music is played. Bonus effect of this drill is that the players (and parents if they’re watching) know the pecking order on the team and that will cause you less questions about playing time in the future.

Rescue the Treasure

This drill is brand new but the kids loved it. Mark off 3 – 5 yd by 5 yd boxes with cones or lines. Place a guard with a blocking shield in each box. The “Rescuer” is placed at the front of the area. He has to get past all 3 castle guards, rescue the treasure (football) and escape back through the same 3 castle guards. Guards attempt to knock the rescuer out of the drill area but must stay in their own box.  If the Rescuer is knocked out of the castle walls, he loses and does 10 pushups. If he makes it back out of the castle, he wins and has no punishment. Rescuer goes to the back of the line. Rotation through the drill starts with the guard nearest the treasure. Players move to the outer wall until they become the rescuer.

I would recommend this drill be done as one station instead of a whole team drill. Just more time efficient that way.

We do 1 fun drill per day in the middle of the practice. It breaks up the grind of the rest of practice and injects a little more spirit into the kids. Have fun with them. Encourage them during the games. This helps build team spirit as well.

Barefoot Practice

I’m always talking about making the experience special for the players. Sometimes an opportunity that you didn’t expect happens and you have to just go with it or you might pass up a chance to make some memories for the kids. Just such an opportunity happened to my team this past season.

At our Saturday morning practices we do special teams first on the high school field then we go to a practice area, “over the hill” as it’s called to review the defensive game plan and rep offensive plays. On this Saturday morning, my QB forgot his spikes. I told him, well that sucks for you because you’ll have to practice barefoot. As we lined up to do kickoffs, I looked at his bare feet and imagined the other player’s spikes tearing them up. So I made a quick joke, or so I thought. “In support of Nathan and his predicament, let’s all go barefoot” I said. I really didn’t mean it. I got different responses. Some were crazy about the idea and the others…well, not so much. Then it hit me that it might actually be fun and I didn’t see any down side to it. We weren’t going to have an intense practice. Mostly review so I thought why not? So I told them all to take their socks and shoes off and put them on the sidelines. I did let the kickers keep their shoes on to do their kicking. The grass was a little wet and we got a few light showers during the practice. The boys slipped around in the wet grass and fell a few more times than they normally would have but all in all had a grand time.

So the next time God hands you an opportunity to make some memories for the kids, don’t be so fast to dismiss it. Don’t be that coach that always has to have it his way and keep grinding on the kids. Sometimes the best reason to do something is just because it is fun. The boys don’t need any more reason to do something. Why should you? Remember, it’s not about you.

10 years from now, they might forget the games they won or lost but they will always remember the barefoot practice.

Life is better with a Soundtrack

While I was driving at work one day, I was thinking about the evening practice plan and listening to Metallica. The more this combo mixed in my head, the more jacked up I got about the evening practice. I thought if this is doing this to me, it will do this to the MINI-MEs that I coach. I am a man and they are little boys and we share the same Warrior Heart. Thus having music for certain drills at practice was born.

I bring an old style battery powered boom box to practice. I play mostly hard rock/heavy metal music on it. I’m careful of the lyrics of the songs to exclude profanity and other situations. We use it on certain drills. Board drills for sure. That was the first one I used it for. We now use music for Power hour, Bronco, and most fun drills. Music really adds to the intensity of the drill. You’ll see the kids in line’s heads bobbing up and down in rhythm to the beat and you can see the increased intensity in their eyes as they put their hand on the ground, ready to fire out and engage their opponent in a block.

The music also adds a bit of fun to the whole practice. It does not distract. Sometimes, “it’s fun” is the only reason I do some things at practice. The boys don’t need any more justification than that to do certain things in their life and this practice is for them so why shouldn’t I embrace that. That’s not to say we don’t do the important things at the expense of just having fun but you can do both.

I encourage you to try this. I promise you the first time you drag your boom box onto the field, you’ll get a bunch of smiles from your players.